Well, that's me. Sitting in the mountains and drinking green tea. In Iceland. Tea and great support throughout provided by Bergthor.Thank you my friend.
Mental Health Awareness week meant lots of hard work but was also a great success.
I was honoured to lecture for 90 minutes to over 100 people on hearing voices at the oldest psychiatric insitute in Iceland and run a workshop for 20 people introducing them to some core coping skills and ideas for helping folk make sense of voice hearing experiences.
I spoke of my early experiences, working with voicehearers in diverse settings and circumstances and starting up early support groups.The challenges and benefits, the journey. Why listening makes such a difference to healing and recovery.
We discussed how we might improve poor recovery rates for schizophrenia by encouraging a positive engagement with people and their experiences . Giving access to ideas and tools that promote self autonomy.
How I was inspired to meet with Ron Coleman, Paul Baker and others and how meeting these amazing folk led me to the work of the Hearing Voices Movement and Professor Marius Romme.
It was filmed too so soon we shall have a copy of that.
I also got toured around Icelandic mental health facilities and met folk using services and working in them.
I was made so welcome on each visit. People do want to embrace models of thinking and recovery ideas that can make a difference.
The alliance that worked to get me there also worked incredibly hard at putting on an amazing week of events, many of which I was lucky enough to attend.
We marched through the streets of Rekyavik alongside a band and with banners representing many services, clubhouses, health professionals and many individuals who shared their life experiences so powerfully and openly. We were joined by the City Mayor and the Icelandic President...How cool is that?
There were shows, movie screenings and award ceremonies. Some of us met to discuss planting seeds for a future hearing voices support group. I left books and dvds to assist with this. Maybe I will go return to help set this up too.
I did a little media work and a 10 minute interview on the national news. For the first time I talked of my own brief mental health crisis as a young man and how my voices drove me to an act of self destruction. How I had no one to talk to. Why I am so glad I failed.
Raising awareness about the commonality of voice hearing is something I really love to do.
After the main lecture of the week, a doctor told me that he and his colleagues were all very grateful as my lectures and talks had removed much of the stigma and tension that seem to attend any discussion on the hearing of voices.
Now he felt that they would respond to and interact with their clients and patients with a more creative and relaxed attitude.
Now he was excited to do this. A very satisfying outcome indeed!
Activist/ Health worker/ 20 years. Specific interests : wellness/ voice hearing/ coping/ exploring/ sharing/ stigma reduction.